Israeli defense minister urges Arab leaders to follow Sadat’s example

by WorldTribune Staff, November 19, 2017

Arab leaders should forge a “coalition of moderates against Iran,” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said on Nov. 18.

The leaders also should follow late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s lead in reaching out to Israel, Liberman wrote in a Facebook post.

Israeli Prime Minister Menahem Begin (center right) welcoming Egyptian President Anwar Sadat (center left) at the start of his historic visit November 19, 1977 at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport. / GPO via Getty Images

On Nov. 19, 1977, Sadat became the first Arab leader to make an official visit to Israel, when he met with then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Two years later, in 1979, Israel and Egypt formally signed a peace treaty.

“Anwar Sadat was a courageous leader who stood against the tide and paved the way for other Arab leaders to recognize the importance of the strategic relationship with the State of Israel,” Liberman wrote.

“40 years after his historic visit to Israel, I call on the leaders of the region to follow President Sadat, come to Jerusalem and open a new page, not only in Israel’s relations with the Arab world, but in the region as a whole. The Middle East needs, more than anything else, a coalition of moderate countries against Iran. The coalition against ISIS has run its course. After ISIS – Iran!” Liberman added.

Liberman’s post came amid reports of rapprochement between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar reported last week that the Saudi government is weighing the possible normalization of relations with Israel ahead of a planned Middle East peace program by the Trump administration which aims to not only secure a final status agreement between Israel and the PA, but lead to recognition of the Jewish state by the larger Arab world.

On Nov. 16, the Daily Mail reported that Saudi King Salman plans to step down and announce his son as his successor within a week. The report said that once Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman becomes king, he would enlist the help of the Israeli military to crush Hizbullah, Iran’s proxy in Lebanon.

Meanwhile, The Associated Press reported that the Trump administration had put the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) on notice that it will shut down the PLO’s office in Washington unless the group entered serious peace talks with Israel.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has determined that the Palestinians ran afoul of a provision in a U.S. law that says the PLO mission must close if the Palestinians try to get the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israelis for crimes against Palestinians, the AP report said.

Saeb Erekat, the secretary general of PLO, said on Nov. 18 that the PLO would cut off all contacts with the United States if the Trump administration follows through with the threat.

“This is very unfortunate and unacceptable. This is the pressure being exerted on this administration from the Netanyahu government. At a time when we’re trying to cooperate to achieve the ultimate deal, they take such steps which will undermine this process,” Erekat said.

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